It’s the first part to be stripped out when something is mass-produced.

Terroir, in French, in the assembly of characteristics imparted to wine by the environment (sun, rain, soil) in which it’s produced.

Remove terroir and you have a franchisable and infinitely-replicable product. It’s also why a meal at McDonalds or breakfast poured from a box will never be remarkable.

People carry terroir. Built on their experiences, culture, and values, each person carries characteristics imparted by their environment.

We can lose terroir as well.

When we work without purpose, tell ourselves we’re doing our best (when we know we aren’t), treat others as objects rather than people, forget to say thank you, and don’t speak up when we should, our terroir shrinks. Given enough time, we become that box of cereal or drive-through meal.

To be effective, EHS professionals must speak to the heart. Terroir is the vehicle to the point past compliance. It’s why you’ll be remembered. Or not.


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